What to know about independent presidential candidate Cornel West

West is a prominent activist, author and philosopher.

ByABC News
January 10, 2024, 4:19 PM

This is part of a series on the 2024 presidential candidates.

Cornel West was born June 2, 1953, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

A prominent activist, author and philosopher, West received his doctoral degree in 1980 and went on to teach philosophy, religion and African American studies at several colleges and universities, including most recently at Princeton and Harvard, with his background being mainly focused on racial issues and disparities across the country.

In June 2023, West announced his run for president, initially stating he would run with the People's Party. However, he then changed his party affiliation multiple times -- first to the Green Party and then to being an independent candidate.

His team said in a statement at the time: "Democracy means more choices, not backroom deals; it means freedom to vote your conscience without being shamed or bullied. As Dr. West's campaign for president grows, he believes the best way to challenge the entrenched system is by focusing 100% on the people, not on the intricacies of internal party dynamics."

Throughout his campaign, West has often spoken about the civil rights movement, saying many times that his mission is to fulfill the legacy of leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis.

Key issues include the economy and foreign policy.

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